Here’s a week in review of some of the more important things that happened. Think of it as a sort of abridged digest of things you might have missed.
- House Speaker Corcoran is seeking help from House Democrats in help overcoming a Governor Scott veto on bills gutting Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. I think it’s great that we might kill these corporate welfare programs but I have to ask. Qhat are the Dems getting in return? (link)
- The House, in one of it’s first floor votes of the year, voted to kill Enterprise Florida and guy funding for Visit Florida. (link)
- As one of their first acts, the Florida Senate passed a bill that would expend higher education spending by some $1 billion. The bill would also expand 1st generation scholarships, implement block tuition, start the “Florida Farmworker Student Scholarship Program” streamline the 2 year college to 4 year University path, and a bunch of other things. (link)Meanwhile the House wants to cut millions from Universities and has requested documents showing the excess spending like a $61,000 trip to Paris from the University of Florida. Their goal is to shame Universities and cut them to the bone. (link)
- The Florida House budget is terrible. Of the proposed $1.4 billion in cuts (they’re looking for another $0.6 billion) it includes
- $574 million in cuts to healthcare.
- $485 million in education cuts.
- $321.2 million in transportation cuts
This is just shameful. These cuts disproportionately affect the working people. (link)
- Who is Florida House speaker Corcoran ? He’s an ideologue who’s in a seat of power and is fighting Governor Scott on his budget… and is likely going to win. What does winning mean to him? It means Scott takes apart his budget and has less to campaign on for US Senate in 2018. And I’m pretty sure Scott won’t do that until the state Government shuts down on July 1st. (link)
- Alachua County has the worse achievement gap between white and black students in Florida. On average Alachua County white students over perform state averages and black students under perform state averages. Black students are also nearly 5 times more likely to be suspended. (link )
- Coaral Gables is the first city in Florida to ban plastic bags. this is on the heels of the cities legal victory defending their ban on Styrofoam containers. (link)
- A sweeping anti-testing bill is working it’s way through the state legislator. SB 964/HB 1249 would eliminate the majority of high school end of course tests, allow schools to continue to use the paper-and-pencil tests (important as it was an unfunded mandate for school boards to purchase technology), would allow ACT/SAT to be used as in place of many state standardized tests, and pushes all testing to the last few weeks of school. Over all it’s a great step in the right direction and also shows that Republicans and bucking the Jeb Bush pro-testing politic. (link)
- Congressman Yoho is being targeted with these pro Trumpcare adverts. (link)
- Florida will vote on a bill that will expand Stand Your Ground laws. The bill, SB 128/H B245 would shift the burden of proof to the prosecutor to prove that Stand Your Ground shouldn’t be invoked, flipping the entire process on it’s head. (link)
- National Woman Liberation in Gainesville held a solid women’s strike event on Wednesday. (link)
- Republican Sen Flores will try to stop Sen. Steube’s pro gun bills the most controversial of which would allow guns on college campuses and in airport terminals. If she hold it’s very likely his sweeping 10 bill pro-gun legislation is dead. (link)
- “Anti local control” Senator Perry is at it again. This time he wants to privatize the Gainesville Regional Utility. (link)
- Yet another anti-local control bill passed an important Florida Senate committee this week. This one would make it a lot harder for Cities/Counties to pass taxes. Among the provisions would be requiring a 60% vote for referendums and introducing a complicated taxing scheme about when and what taxes can be imposed and under what circumstances. This bill is meant as a way of shielding rich peoples money away from cities and counties. (link)
- The Senate has three different medical Marijuana bills out already and the House just released theirs. HB 1397. It’s not as good as the Senate versions. This could be a point of conflict as both have to be identical before being sent to Governor Scott. (link)
- A bill set to help k-12 Christian students being discriminated against is on the fast track in the Florida Senate. (link)
- A circuit court ruled that Trump can’t force a county to hold immigrants for ICE. Too bad Miami-Dade folded like a deck chair anyway. (link)
- Sen Nelson leads Gov Scott in a 2018 match up poll by 6 points. Mason-Dixon has him at a 5 point lead.
- White supremacist groups are organizing in college and university campuses throughout the nation and especially in Florida. (link)
- Broward County k-12 became the first sanctuary school district in Florida. (link)
- Immigrant Rights activists rallied at the capitol on Wednesday to protest HB 697/SB 786 which would punish sanctuary cities and counties. (link)
- Trumpcare will hurt Floridan’s who are old, poor, and live in rural areas. (link). It will also bring Medicaid caps which will limit the care hospitals and doctors can give to the poor. (link)
- Rep Curbelo (R, Miami) re-filed the “Recognizing America’s Children Act” which would protect the Dreamers from Trump and give a pathway to citizenship. Call Congressman Yoho at (352) 505-0838 and tell him to co-sponsor (link)
- Swamp swamp swamp. ProPublica has a list of 400 lobbyist, insiders, and BS political hires that the Trump administration installed. (link)
- Trump is delaying an Obama era rule which would require for profit schools to warn students the schools might close soon because they’re under investigation for being predatory. Trump must have sympathy for these scam schools through his experiences with his own scam school Trump U. (link)
- Republicans introduced their replacement of the ACA and it’s terrible. Up to 30 million will lose their coverage, 1.2 million people will lose their jobs, preexisting conditions are going to be taxed, and it cuts the supplements for the working poor to buy their own healthcare on the market. (link)
- The US Supreme Court refused to take up a case involving a trans student. There was hope that this would be the first case to enshrine trans rights on a national level but the Supreme Court wants to wait until they have a full bench to decide on the case. (link)
- Trump says that Planed Parenthood can keep federal funding is they stop providing abortions. While this is silly because federal funding can’t pay for abortions it’s also telling that Trump is worried he’ll lose this fight. (link)
- Reince Priebus is likely on his way out as chief of Staff to Trump. (link)
- Roger Stone admitted to having a back channel to Wikileaks during the 2016 presidential election. Stone worked closely to get Trump elected. (link)
- Trump has said, out of nowhere, that Obama tapped his phones. He’s now asking congress to investigate these baseless claims. But FBI director Comey (yeah, the one who knee capped Clinton a week before the election) has asked the Justice department to publicly reject Trump’s claim. And Obama is basically calling Trump a liar.
- Turns out Trump won’t require the Keystone XL pipeline to be made with US steel. (link)
- Trump’s budget seeks to cut NOAA, the main researcher into climate change, by 17%. But the brunt of the cuts will for a 26% cut in research and a 22% cut to the satellite data division. He also wants to cut $73 million in Sea Grants which university’s use to conduct coastal research. (link). This includes the widely popular Florida Sea Grant at the University of Florida which sees a $800 return on each $1 invested in it. (link)
- VP Mike Pence used a private AOL email account while governor. He received secret and sensitive information on it. And it was hacked. Lock him up? (link)
- Trump plans to separate women from their children who illegally enter the US and are caught. That’s some cold hearted GOP BS. (link)
- The US Senate reversed an Obama era rule that forced government contractors to release information about their violations of federal labor laws. The vote was 49 to 48 and does nothing but help bad businesses hide abuses to their workers. (link)